China, Russia start ‘Joint Sea 2019’ naval exercise in eastern China

A joint military exercise with the Chinese and Russian navies has begun in Qingdao, east China’s Shandong Province, marking the second time that both navies have met at the port of Qingdao since the launch of the annual drill mechanism in 2012. 

The Chinese PLA Navy sent a warm welcome to the Russian fleet.

Qiu Yanpeng, deputy commander of the PLA Navy, said that through the exercise, both sides will have closer collaboration and greater proficiency in addressing all kinds of security threats.

The subject of this year’s exercise is “joint maritime defensive operations.” Both navies have dispatched two submarines, 13 surface vessels, multiple aircraft, and some 80 marines. 

Reportedly, the “Joint Sea 2019” exercise will be conducted in three phases, namely preparation, execution, and summary. At least ten drills will be held by May 4. 

According to a senior military official, the exercise will focus on joint submarine rescue, air defense, and anti-submarine operations.

On Monday afternoon, the navies of both sides visited each other’s vessels in order to deepen mutual understanding. 

“This is the second time I have come to Qingdao, and I am so happy to be back,” said Alexander Averianov, a chief warrant officer from Russian cruiser Varyag.

They will soon set out to hold exercises in the sea and airspace near Qingdao.

Both navies stressed that the exercise does not target any third party. It only aims to enhance its capability to commonly address maritime security threats. 



China’s Belt and Road Forum

China hosted the second belt and road forum in Beijing on Saturday.  The two-day event brought together world leaders and delegates. The One Belt, One Road initiative (OBOR) is China’s idea of changing global geopolitics with intercontinental investments from China.

The project which sees China invest in major infrastructure developments in Asia, Europe, Africa, and Latin America in order to create new trade routes and new age silk road which stems from China into Asia and Europe interlinking the Indian Ocean and Africa as well as the Pacific towards Latin America.

Leaders and delegates from 37 countries attended the forum.  The forums also saw $64 billion worth of deals signed. There is lots of criticism of OBOR due to the high cost of investment with many countries fearing they may fall in a debt trap if unable to pay back the money.

So far China has signed cooperation agreements with 125 countries and 29 international organizations and is still working on expanding the initiative even further.




Brazil’s vice President to visit China next Month

Brazil Deputy President Hamilton Mourao announced on Wednesday that he will be visiting China for 10 days, with stops in Beijing and Shanghai. Mourao told that the press that he going to travel to the People’s Republic of China on 10 May.

Far-right leader, President Jair Bolsonaro has also vowed to visit China in the second half of 2019. Which came as a shock, as Bolsonaro had fore-accused China of trying to buy Brazil.

Related story: Future Brazil president Jair Bolsonaro’s and Brazil-China relations

China is Brazil’s top trading partner – Mourao is looking maintain the trade relations between the two countries – he has in comparison to President Jair Bolsonaro taken a sensible approach towards China.


By: Kgothatso Nkanyane

Additional Reporting: Reuters

Cyclone forecasted to hit Mozambique and South Tanzania on Thursday


Image Source: EUMETSAT/Bloomberg


Another cyclone is expected to hit Mozambique and Southern Tanzania today. Tropical cyclone Kenneth was ranked by Meteo France (French national meteorological service) as an intense tropical cyclone – the cyclone underwent additional strengthening on Wednesday night.

Mozambique has already been hit by another cyclone this year, Intense Tropical Cyclone Idai was one of the worst tropical cyclones on record to affect Africa and the Southern Hemisphere. The storm caused damage in Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe leaving over 1000 people dead and more than thousands missing.

It is predicted that Kenneth will bring heavy rainfalls, waves and strong winds of up to 140 Kilometres an hour. People living in coastal areas were told by authorities to take precaution and schools were ordered to be closed for today.


By: Kgothatso Nkanyane

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un travels to Russia to meet with President Vladimir Putin

Kim Jong Un leader of North Korea is in the city of Vladivostok for Summit with the Russian President Vladimir Putin. Kim Jong Un arrived in Russia by train on Thursday he met with President Putin for the first time ever.

The meeting between Kim and Putin comes at a time when North Korea and the US were unable to come to an agreement in the second North Korea-United States Summit in Hanoi, Vietnam last year.

One of the reasons for the stall in progress is US Secretary Mike Pompeo, who the Korean have requested to be replaced in any future talks. Kim meeting with Putin could a way for the North Korean leader way his options if they can’t make headway with the US.

For Russia this an opportunity to assist in the peace process and advance movements towards a denuclearized North Korea.


By Mokgethi Mtezuka



Focus sectors for the 2019 BRICS Summit

Brazil, 2019 BRICS host has outlined focus sectors for their host year. The South American powerhouse announced interesting sectors as priorities for the 11th Summit.

Related: Brazil confirms date for the 11th BRICS Summit

Among the focus sectors announced by Brazil are scientific technical and innovative cooperation, digital economy, fight against organized crimes and money laundering. Brasilia will this year be taking the rotating presidency of the bloc created in 2006 that includes also Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

South Africa played a host of the BRICS 10th Summit with a diversity of discussions – development, economic growth, prosperity, peace, and security.

Related: The 10th BRICS Summit outcomes


Source: Economic Times

Ukraine elects comedian Zelensky as President

In what was a landslide victory Ukrainian comedian Volodymyr Zelensky becomes the new president of Ukraine, defeating experienced politician and current president Petro Poroshenko with more than 73% of the vote.

Zelensky who became popular for acting as the President of Ukrainian in a political satire comedy television series called Servant of the People – fiction has now turned into reality. Zelensky also used the name of the show as his official political party name in becoming president-elect.

The election of Zelensky was predicted by polls as he was always in a favorable position but is still shocking, as many believe his campaign to be not serious. Zelensky had no real policies only ideas as to how to deal with Ukraine’s problems.

Ukraine at the moment is still in the midst of a civil war in the east of the country as well economic constraints is still gripping the country with the corruption going checked coursing many more problems. Zelensky becoming the president-elect is an indication as to how frustrated the Ukraine people are with the established political parties.

Zelensky has no political experience and no allegiance with established political Lines in Ukraine, so his election is seen by many as new start away from corrupt politicians and oligarch who control the country.

President Ramaphosa undertakes Working Visit to Arab Republic of Egypt

President Cyril Ramaphosa has today, 22 April 2019 departed South Africa to undertake a Working Visit to the Arab Republic of Egypt to attend an emergency African Union (AU) Troika Summit convened to discuss the political and security situations in the Republic of Sudan and Libya.

President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi has called the Emergency Summit in his capacity as Chairman of the African Union. The AU Troika consists of Egypt current Chair; South Africa incoming Chair and Rwanda outgoing Chair. The Summit will also be attended by the AU Commission Chairperson, Mr Moussa Mahamat Faki who is expected to report on the AU initiatives undertaken to resolve these crises. Mr Faki has just concluded a visit to Sudan.

South Africa is serving as non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the period 2019-2020 and these political and security challenges in Libya and Sudan are already before the UN Security Council.

President Ramaphosa has prioritised regional and continental peace, stability, security and integration and development and will attend the Emergency Summit to contribute towards the African Union’s stated goal of silencing the guns by 2020.

The President will be accompanied by Ministers of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, Defence and Military Veterans, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and State Security, Ms Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba.

Minister Sisulu to brief media on the Ministerial Review Panel final report

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, on wednesday  received a final report from the Ministerial Review Panel on its review of South Africa’s foreign policy.

Minister Sisulu appointed the Review Panel in 2018 to make an in-depth evaluation of the country’s foreign policies, including reviewing the strengths, weaknesses and possible gaps of the existing policies as well as their implementation.

The Minister will be joined by the Deputy Ministers of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Luwellyn Landers and Ms Reginah Mhaule, as well as members of the Review Panel.



10 of South Africa’s top trading partners

South Africa exports more than $90 Billion of products in 2018 to its trading partners globally, though limited by the countries geographical distance from its main export partners South Africa still manages to increase trade by 7% since 2017, which is 0.5% of global trade.

China the biggest buyer of South African (SA) goods with almost $9 Billion spent in 2018, making up more than 9% of foreigner exports. Germany and the United Sated making up SA’s second and third biggest importers of goods with 7.5% and 6.8% of foreign trade.

In terms of African trade partners Botswana 7th, Namibia 8th and Mozambique 9th which along with South Africa make up the Southern African Development Community contributing a combined $11 Billion showing how the African bloc is very key growth in the region and for South Africa.